If my mom died and didn’t have a Will but did had several thousand in credit card debt and a car, can her creditors put a lien on the car?

UPDATED: Mar 8, 2012

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If my mom died and didn’t have a Will but did had several thousand in credit card debt and a car, can her creditors put a lien on the car?

My mother passed away about 6 weeks ago without a Will. I am her only legal inheritor. I have found she had several thousand dollars in credit card debt and only a couple thousand dollars in the bank. The only property she owned is an old carworth $2500 to $3500. What are my responsibilities in getting the debt paid off? Can the credit card companies place a lien on the car? How would I get the lien removed and be able to take ownership of the vehicle?

Asked on March 8, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under the statutes of most states there is a process to administer a small estate such as your mother who passed away without a Will in an expeditious manner without much cost and without an attorney. You need to go down to your county court house and ask the court clerk for the form to do such.

Most likely the creditors of your mother after being given notice of the petition to administer her estate will agree to take a reduced amount for pay off on the credit card debt from her assets. Potentially the car may need to be sold to pay off the creditors.

Until there is a judgment against your mother's estate by the creditors they cannot place a lien on the vehicle. If your county has a "legal aid" program, I suggest that you consult with someone with it to further assist you with respect to your questions.

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